Game 66 Preview: Buffalo Sabres @ Ottawa Senators

It’s a battle of the bottom-dwellers!

The Senators are coming off a win against the Stars, while the Sabres played last night and were dismantled by the Flames in a 5-1 score which probably flatters them. If you’re on Team Tank, tonight is a must-lose game against an opponent that is only three points behind the Sens (but with the Sens having two more games remaining). A loss will be tough, with the Sens well-rested and the Sabres playing a back-to-back with travel.

According to Brent Wallace, Max McCormick and Erik Burgdoerfer are the scratches, with Craig Anderson getting the start. Here are your lines and pairings:

Hoffman - Duchene - Dzingel
Ryan - Pageau - Stone
Paajaarvi - Smith -  Pyatt
Gaborik - O'Brien - Burrows

Claesson - Karlsson
Harpur -  Ceci
Borowiecki - Chabot

Anderson (starter)

My pointless thoughts:

  • That Hoffman-Duchene line has been seeing a lot of turnover as of late. After auditions of Gaborik, Burrows, Paajaarvi, and McCormick on that top line, Ryan Dzingel gets his shot. Personally I think he’s the only one with a real shot at sticking in the top six, but you never know on a Guy Boucher team
  • There’s been a lot of talk recently about Mark Stone’s upcoming deal, with one model suggesting he gets $9M. Even the model owner suggests that’s high, but as Ken Warren pointed out in The Sun, Ryan Johansen and Evgeny Kuznetsov are lower point-per-game players making $8M and $7.8M respectively.
  • Unrelatedly, “mark” and “stone” both work was improper nouns, so I can’t rely on spell check to let me know I’ve forgotten to capitalize them.
  • People have also been pointing out that we need to know for next year if Chabot - Ceci would work as a defensive partnership. I can’t understand why we’re not seeing any of it in these meaningless games.
  • Boucher had some interesting comments this morning:/

My personal thought is that Pageau could be a defensive centre with scoring ability if his linemates weren’t Pyatt and Thompson half the year, but you know, I’m never gonna be an NHL coach

  • This is still a weird time of year for me. I want to see the Sens lose, but then I see Karlsson get a breakaway on the counterattack in overtime and I get out of my seat hoping to see him score. I hope every game from now on is an 8-7 loss for the Sens with Karlsson getting a hat-trick and four assists./

Some stats for tonight’s teams:

Team Stats

Goals against/GP3.4430th2.563rd
Shots against/GP33.025th29.32nd
Powerplay %16.726th23.54th
Penalty Kill %76.227th83.34th
Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted)46.3229th53.972nd
Fenwick (5v5, SVA)46.9427th54.011st

Player Stats

GoalsMatt Duchene27Brad Marchand34
AssistsErik Karlsson (out)53Brad Marchand51
PointsKarlsson/Stone (both out)62Brad Marchand85
ShotsMike Hoffman253David Pastrnak236
TOI/GPErik Karlsson (out)26:44Zdeno Chara22:53

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